KCK police relations task force aims to open dialogue with minorities

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The mayor of the Unified Government is creating a police relations task force to examine concerns about law enforcement.

Mayor David Alvey wants members of the community to share their experiences. Alvey says he wants to establish an ongoing dialogue between the African-American and Hispanic communities and law enforcement.

The task force will tackle difficult issues, including: defining excessive force, identifying explicit and implicit bias and eliminating unequal treatment by law enforcement.

The mayor confirmed changes likely to be discussed include the recent action by the Minneapolis, Minn., city council to disband its police force in favor of a public safety agency that’s not militaristic.

“Police officers have to be able to use the force that is necessary to protect and serve, because if we don’t give them that capacity people are in danger,” Alvey said. “But it has to be the right measure of force. Only, only what is necessary. That requires, the chief will tell you, a lot of training.”

But not everyone is happy with those named to the task force. A few African-Americans present for the mayor’s announcement say the task force does not represent people most likely to have contact with police: younger black men.

The first public meeting of the task force is not expected for at least a week.

The mayor says the task force will not make policy or recommendations. It’s only gathering information and ideas for commissioners to review.

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